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Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann, TransAlp stage 5 winners
Overall leaders Kaufmann and Kaess extend TransAlp lead with second stage win | Team Bulls 1 nose-dives but defends third rank in overall ranking closely
By clinching their second stage at the 16th TransAlp, Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess were able to extend their lead in the overall ranking. Centurion-Vaude 1 mastered the fifth stage, which covered a demanding up-and-down 73km from Alleghe to San Martino di Castrozza. The winners finished in a time of 3:26:16, clearly beating the winning time of the 2011 stage (3:33:49).
"Our advantage is our ability to keep a constant speed over the course of the whole stage. We attacked in the last climb and went for it. It's nice to have extended the lead. But I would never call it a preliminary decision. It's still quite a distance to Riva and a lot of things can happen," said the reigning German Marathon Mountain Bike Champion Kaufmann.
Topeak Ergon Racing finished second, 2:40 down. Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen couldn't keep the wheels of the TransAlp leaders in the last climb to the highest peak of the day (Baita Segantini) after they had been in a long break away with them. As a result, the two title defenders are already 3:01 behind in the overall ranking with three more stages to come.
However, they still sit comfortably in second position while the battle for overall third heated up dramatically when Team Bulls kicked off their race with problems right away. Karl Platt couldn't follow anymore the pace of the other top teams.
"It never did hurt that much in 13 Transalp years before. The first climb killed me. From their on, I just fed the parking meter with one coin after the other," said the seven-time TransAlp winner his blackest day in the stage race of all times.
"Fortunately I found my rhythm again," said Platt, who finished the stage together with teammate Urs Huber 12:32 behind of the winners. They were sixth on the day and kept their third place in the standings by just four seconds.
Overall fourth ranked BiXS-Wheeler iXS Pro Team Thomas Stoll and Konny Looser were able to reduce their deficit as third classified team of the day again after they had done so yesterday, too, by winning stage 4.
Nothing changes in women category
On side of the women teams, Borghild Loevset and Sally Bigham are still the measure of all things. Topeak Ergon Racing secured their fifth stage win in 4:27:35.
Cornelia Hug and Andrea Faessler of Crazy Velo Shop Scott (4:31:45) as well as Katrin Schwing and Lisa Pleyer of Cancer Rehab St. Veit (4:39:41) rounded out the podium as second and third like the previous days.
The leaders of the master classification Udo Boelts and Carsten Bresser are still living the good life in the masters 80+ category. Team Rocky Mountain /Centurion triumphed in 3:50:37 today.
Some eight minutes later, Claudio Segata and Piergorgio Dellagiacoma claimed the second spot on the podium for the first time (3:58:21). However, Team Tecno MTB did capitalize on technical problems their main rivals were facing.
Team Jeep Scott with Johann Grasegger and Andreas Laner were thrown back by a broken pedal at Laner's mountain bike in the first ascent but managed to still cross the finish line in third position (4:08:06).
Earning their fourth stage win in a row, Kristin Aamodt and Daniel Jung were able to cement their lead in the mixed category.
Arriving in San Martino di Castrozza after 4:25:15, the Mountain Heroes relegated Bettina Uhlig and Mathias Nothegger of Team www.1place.com/Wheeler ixs (4:28:59) as well as Annette Griner and Peter Reiche of black tusk Racing by toMotion (4:30:00) to second and third respectively.
Walter Platzgummer and Gilberto Perini of Naturns Scott-Torbado have raced their rivals into the ground again today claiming their fifth stage in 4:06:54.
The second rank went to Baerti Bucher and Doug Brown of Bixs nine-twelve-sixtyone (4:22:29) with Georg Niggl and Felix Weese taking third (4:37:15). Team Craft and Friends thus also impressively underlined that it's the third strongest force in the grand master category now after Corner Cycle having been forced to pull out yesterday.
Tomorrow's sixth stage leads over 104km and 2,781 metres in elevation gain from San Martino di Castrozza into the new stage town of Crespano del Grappa.
For full results, visit http://services.datasport.com/2013/mtb/Transalp/stage5/.